When the phrase "dairy-free" is uttered, soy is often one of the first foods to come to the mind. Yet in reality, dairy-free living goes well beyond soy, and a soy label is no dairy-free guarantee. True, there are many soy-based foods that were created specifically as substitutes for milk products, but some manufacturers are focused more on the “health benefits” of soy rather than developing food alternatives. For example, O’Soy yogurt from Stoneyfield Farms (a dairy manufacturer) used to be marketed as “dairy-free.” However, their stance changed in this past year, when they revealed that their live active cultures (probiotics) are milk-based.
Though there are many dairy-free options for live active cultures (as used by yogurt manufacturers such as Whole Soy & Co. and Turtle Mountain), Stoneyfield Farms has opted to keep their dairy ways, focusing on the 7grams of soy protein per serving of their soy yogurt for their marketing. Similar issues are often found in soy “cheeses” (some may also be marked as lactose-free), which may still contain some milk proteins to give them that cheesy texture.
The bottom line is, always read the ingredient statement, and when necessary, verify manufacturing processes with the company. What you see on the front of a food package is not always indicative of the ingredients revealed on the back of the package.
Photo from the Stoneyfield Farms website.